Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Outta Here and Treasures Found

With the kids home last week, I spent most of my time Destashing. I actually got rid of a load of sock yarn, a pile of books and some other odds and ends. I really didn't mind seeing them go out the door. They were beloved once, but I won't knit with them and yarn should be knit. I still have a few more skeins that need new homes, but they are going to have to continue living in my closet for the time being.

While I was digging through the closets, I pulled out these Knitpicks skeins of Telemark I picked up in December to do some coffee holders with--the coffee holders never got knit, but I still had the yarn.

I wasn't sure why I pulled them out, but I plopped them in my workbasket and kept watching them hoping for some inspiration. I found it last night with this hat from Brooklyn Tweed. Then I found this skein of sport weight sock yarn leftover from my Destashing. Now I'm thrilled no one was inspired to buy it because it will make a great lining for the hat.

Funny how those things work out.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Just a little Spring?

I've been juggling too much this week. Kids home from school for mid-winter break (okay, who invents these fake holidays?), a book deadline looming (April Fool's Day--isn't that just ironic), and some pre-spring cleaning--which has been appearing on Destash for Cash. But with all this going on, I've actually been making headway on two fronts, literally.

First is the CPH, which is making nice progress and I should have the fronts shown here done tonight. Then I'll seam up the shoulder seams and do the hood. This is my night time knitting, the easy, not too much thinking knitting that I love. And during the day, when I feel a little more sharp and with it, I've been working on my Cascade Cap, from the Fair Isle class I took at Madrona. I'm not crazy as to how I put the colors together and it is too small for me, but I think it will make a great Dulaan contribution.

As I draw closer to finishing these, I start considering what I am going to be doing next. Finishing another UFO or casting on something new, perhaps a spring sweater like the Sienna Cardigan from the Fall 2006 Interweave knits?

Speaking of Spring, or the clear lack of it, the other night the wind started howling again. It howled and rained all night (not as bad as the December storm, but it was doozy all the same) and I lay there wondering if winter was every going to end. You see, in Seattle, in general, you can consider winter pretty much on the outs after Valentine's Day. Not this year. We had snow south and north of us the other night. As the wind blew like a banshee past my window, I pulled the covers up higher and dreamed of daffodils.

And today, with the sun out, I got my wish. Here they are peeking out of the ground like a promise of good things to come.

Not only that, as I ventured further into the yard to refill the bird feeder, I found these:

And these poking out from beneath the winter mulch:

Don't they make you smile? They sure put one on my face!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Little knitting

After working on my Top-Down Cardi and my CPH using my 8s, switching gears and using size 1 circs is a bit of a jolt. However, inspired by the KAL Queen/Diva, Tiennie, I thought I would try out my new-found Fair Isle skills on the hat project I put together at Janine Bajus's all day class at Madrona Fiber Arts and join the Fair Isle February KAL.

Part of the class was learning how to choose yarns for a Fair Isle project and Janine, bless her heart, shared her stash for us to rummage through.

She also had come up with two hat patterns for us to use/inspire us to try out. You can see better pics of them on her blog, Feral Knitter. I thought this one looked very adventuresome, so I chose similiar colors.

So here is what I've got started:

I am so not a joiner, but Tiennie's enthusiasm is contagious. She's the KAL dealer of Blogdom. Be warned.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Top Down? Top Done!

Got the Top-Down Cardi done. Now here is the cool part of this pattern--when you are done knitting, all you have to do it block it and sew on the buttons. I just tossed it in the washing machine, gave it good soak in some wool wash, and then spun it out, and then laid it out to dry. And Voila, wearable. Okay, I confess I've haven't sewn the buttons on yet, but that's because I want to line the button bands with this grosgrain ribbon I picked up.

My grandmother always finished her sweaters with grosgrain ribbon, because it gave you something to sew the buttons securely to. On the last sweater she made for me, there is the grosgrain my mother sewed in for her because Grandma was having trouble seeing by then. I love that sweater, and those buttons have never come loose, not once in the 20+ years I've been wearing it, so I am taking the time to finish my new sweater in the same fashion.

I really can't believe how quickly this sweater came off the needles, but on the next one (yes, I am going to knit another one) I think I will do some things differently.

1) I'll knit the neck ribbing wider, at least 2 inches, maybe 2½ inches wide, and I'll knit it in smaller needles. Ditto on the cuffs and waistband. I did seed stitch on this one, but I think I am going to use a twisted rib or something else.

2) I'll stop increasing around the yoke a little earlier. Even when you put it on waste yarn and try it on, it really is your best guess as to where to stop and I'm a few rows past what I would have preferred.

Other than that, I love the pattern, which offers so many possibilities. I think I am going to knit my red hand dyed into one and will probably do a cable for the button bands.

But in the meantime, off to finish my CPH, (which I've got the back done) and I want to knit the Fair Isle hat from my Fair Isle class at Madrona.

One can never have enough cardigans or hats!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Perfect Buttons

Made a quickie visit to JoAnn's today and found these perfect buttons for my Top-Down Cardi. They were exactly what I was looking for. I usually start stressing about buttons before I even cast on and had in my mind that I wanted brownish buttons to pick up the taupe color. So after cruising through the racks for my allotted 15 minutes, I finally spied these. Of course, the miracle of all miracles is that I didn't even have the sweater with me, yet here they are and they look great.

Isn't it funny how buttons can make or break an garment. There used to be an old fashioned button shop here in Seattle, up in the Capital Hill neighborhood. My grandmothers would go there to find just the right buttons, as did my mother when she did a lot of custom sewing. I always thought the place was magic--all those little drawers filled with buttons. It was like something out of Harry Potter. There are still shops like this in NYC and every time I go, I always book a hotel in the garment district so I can hang out in the button and trim shops. And when all else fails, my mom has jars and jars of buttons and we'll dump them out on her table and sort them looking for just the right one.

As for the cardi progress, I infamously said in my last post, "I cast it on about three weeks ago, and I am nearly finished. At least I feel like I am as I cruise through this first sleeve." Ahem, well, it wasn't quite the cruise I thought. I got the first sleeve done and realized I'd done a terrible job of decreasing and it was uneven. That will teach me to knit during a 24 marathon. So during the Super Bowl (Hey, I wasn't stressing, the Seahawks weren't playing) I hooked the sleeve up to the ballwinder and frogged the whole darn thing.

So now I can say, with fingers crossed and no ego, that I think I will be finished with the rest of the cardi tonight. At least, here is how far I am with the second sleeve. So down to the cuff tonight and finish it. I hope. That's the plan. But then again, I did just get Disk 2 of Season 2 of 24.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Progress and Projects

I can't believe how fast this Top-Down Cardi from CosmicPluto Knits! is coming together. I cast it on about three weeks ago, and I am nearly finished. At least I feel like I am as I cruise through this first sleeve.

Tiennie asked how I was going to do the sleeves, if I was going to attempt to match them to the sweater, and what I've done is pull together all the skeins that predominantly have this blue/white twist to them, and then small sections of the taupe, and I am going to knit the sleeves in just these. So they won't be as patterned as the rest of the sweater.

When I get done with this skein on one sleeve, I'll get the other matching skein and start the second sleeve, so the two should match, sort of. At least, that's the plan.

I'm already looking ahead to my next sweater project, which will be the Lucy in the Sky Cardigan in the pink Cascade 220 that happened to land on my doorstep. I've got a skein wound and ready to be swatched in my work box.

Though I will most likely finish my CPH before I cast on another sweater. Every time someone posts their finished sweater, I get itchy to have mine finished. But I've also been preoccupied with what to do with my Madrona purchases, the Toots Le Blanc wool and the red hand dyed wool. So I ordered about a dozen knitting books from the library and between them and my own library, I hope to come up with what I want to do. If my Top Down fits as well as I think it is going to, I will probably do a variation from that pattern. Then again . . .